NewsPinellas County


New Mobi-Mat making Pinellas County beach more handicap accessible

Posted at 3:24 PM, Sep 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-09-06 20:14:04-04

PINELLAS COUNTY, Fla. -- A beach in Pinellas County just added a Mobi-Mat, a portable mat, that is durable enough to help people with disabilities get a different view of the water.

Gulfport just installed a Mobi-Mat, that can help people in wheelchairs, strollers, and pedestrians who struggle to walk in the sand.

Gulfport resident Beth Strombaugh couldn't be more excited about the mat, she's been in a wheelchair her entire life.

"This is really nice to be independent, and to come on the beach whenever I want to without having to rely on somebody else to push a wheelchair," she said.

A retired special education teacher from Ohio, Strombaugh said she usually enjoys her retirement views from a nearby pavilion, near the parking lot.

"It allows me to have the same beach experience as everyone else that’s able bodied," she said.

Strombaugh said there have been advocates in Gulfport for years, trying to make this reality.

Last year, ABC Action News featured Treasure Island, with a similar style beach access.

Strombaugh said she hopes more city and county leaders start adding this type of accessibility -- so everyone can be included.

The Gulfport mayor said the city approved the mat 6 months ago, and it costs the city $6,500 to purchase and install.

It's also removable in case of inclement weather.

"Society is starting to change, when it comes to people with disabilities, and this is wonderful that a little town like Gulfport can have one of the only Mobi-Mats in the area," she said.